An apartment in Berlin

An apartment in Berlin

Apartment hotels are more and more in demand – the perfect solution for people who want to be independent and have plenty living space when they are away from home. Most Berliners live in apartments – so why not visitors as well. And it’s not as expensive as you might imagine. Here are two great alternatives, one in City West and one in Mitte, each with excellent transport connections. Both have English names, echoing the cosmopolitan ambitions of Berlin. ‘Louisa’s Place’ recalls the well-loved and cultured Prussian Queen Luise (1776-1810) and the ‘Garden Living Hotel’ speaks for itself.

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Louisa’s Place

Louisa’s Place is on the Kurfürstendamm at Adenauerplatz, only 2 minutes from the underground and bus stops. It’s a grand and elegant building constructed in 1904 and has served as a business and apartment block over the years. Until the mid-1990s, it was home to the piano bar Chez Alex, run by the Russian-born Alexander Kozulin, who welcomed the jet-set to his bar, including Prince Albert of Monaco, Joan Collins and Hildegard Knef.

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Inside one of the hotel aparments

After the war the building was totally renovated, leaving only the façade, the stucco on the staircase and a few other details in their original state. The plan was to turn the building into a retirement home but before it could be put into action, the building was sold by the insurance company who owned it, and it became a five-star hotel. Louisa’s Place features 47 ‘suites’ or serviced apartments, all well equipped with Bosch kitchen appliances. The suites are divided into five categories according to size; the largest apartment is ‘Louisa’s Suite’ with 102 square metres.

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Louisa’s pool

Hotel facilities include a lounge/library, a pretty breakfast room which looks out on to the courtyard garden and a spa area in the basement, complete with swimming pool.  Nothing is too much trouble for the friendly, but unobtrusive personnel who all speak excellent English.  Next door to the hotel is the ‘Balthazar’ restaurant which also provides room service and the ‘Vesper’ bar famous for their Dry Martinis.

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Vesper cocktail bar

If you prefer to be on the East side of city, the ‘Green Living Hotel’, located in Berlin’s historic centre directly opposite the Naturkundemuseum, also offers studios and apartments in various shapes and sizes, each with their own private balcony. The building dates back to 1865 and although it has been completely updated, the rooms are each uniquely furnished with colonial-style solid wood furniture and evoke Berlin’s past, as well as having all modern comforts.

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The Naturkundemuseum (Natural History Museum) opposite the Garden Living Hotel

The balconies look on to a stunning courtyard, aptly described by the hotel as the ‘green oasis of the site’, with sunlight and plants providing a calm and peaceful place to relax. Breakfast is not included in the room prices, but is available for a reasonable 8 euros which you can enjoy in the breakfast room or in the garden in summer. Wifi, newspaper and hot drinks are provided free.

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The fabulous courtyard garden of the Garden Living Hotel

Like Louisa’s Place, the general atmosphere of the Garden Living Hotel is totally relaxed and welcoming, making every guest feel he or she is a Berliner, if only for a few days. Here, Berlin is literally on your own doorstep.  Staff can provide all the information on the abundance of cafes and entertainment nearby and a special bonus of the Garden Living Hotel is having the River Spree just around the corner, perfect for walking and jogging. Or hike a bike from the hotel. Check out the hotel video by following this link

 

Cool hotels for a hot weekend

Cool hotels for a hot weekend

A cool hotel is a key ingredient in a successful city break in more ways than one, especially at the moment when the temperature is hitting 30° in Berlin. I am always being asked if I can recommend places to stay – so if you don’t want to do your own trawling through the internet, here are ten personal recommendations to check out. They are all tried and tested 3 or 4 star hotels with excellent service and you can find good deals depending on the season and what international exhibitions and conferences are on in Berlin. Click on the hotel name to be directed to the website. I have only listed hotels near the city centre and you can get the flavour of the immediate area by reading the relevant section of ‘Small Worlds’ in Berlin Unwrapped. Think twice before booking an inclusive breakfast – Berlin is the city for fabulous brunches in interesting cafés. (more…)